Monday, December 10, 2007

Pay It Forward

I joined a Pay It Forward swap - started by Nurhanne (love her lace - love!). I'm a degree removed from her (Hi Kat!), and can only hope that I get someone (well, three someones) to sign up from me. Here are the guidelines:

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

What a great idea! I also want to specify - I don't think that the gifts need to be knitted. It's about handmade gifts, so soaps, sewing, quilting, jewellery, hand spun and dyed yarn, etc. are all possibilities. And, as the people who sign up need to have a blog (or cannot continue the Pay it Forward chain with their own commenters), it's easy to go back through the archives and get a sense of what each person likes. Yep, I like this.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Waa Haa Haa!

What a difference a different model makes ...

I was so incredibly disappointed in the finished Beatrice shawl - it just didn't hang right on me. But then, my MIL tried it on - perfect! Exactly what I had wanted! The neck shaping hugged her like it was made for her, and tucked under her collar practically without any helping hands.

The central back panel draped beautifully, the shoulders sat exactly where they were supposed to sit, and the front bands lined up perfectly and exactly.

And then, just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I buttoned in the (surprise!) optional removable button-in front panel, and it was like the clouds parted and the sun shone down ... okay, I'm pushing it a bit, but really, it was friggin' brilliant!

Apparently, Beatrice fits a 36-40" bust perfectly. Sadly, I'm not in that range. I guess she just wasn't meant to be mine. I have to sew 6 more buttons in place (the gaps between the buttons are a bit large with only the 4 buttons on each side of the panel), then she will be ready for her photo shoot - yep, I'll be publishing this one after all. Granted, she looks awful on me, but that's a problem with my body size/shape, not with the shawl. She looks great on Sandra, and will likely look just as good on Janet (who will probably be the cover model - heads up girl!).

While I was still steaming about how badly Beatrice fit me, I worked on some small projects - a (really, really, really boring) 2x2 ribbed hat for Tom (which he loves - the more boring the knit, the more he loves / wants the knitted item), and my first two-colour stranded knitted mitten, for me. It's actually the first time I've made a mitten.

I based the design on the work of Anna Zilborg, author of Magnificent Mittens (out of print - but I just picked up a copy from my LYS, at the original cover price - don't choke on your coffee when you see the asking price on Amazon - oy!). The orchid design is part hers, part mine (from a cuff pattern in her book). The pinstripes are an exercise in yarn dominance (Google it - definately worth the reading if you're ever going to do stranded knitting).

The mitten was started with Judy's Magic Cast-On, at the fingertips, then worked down the hand. I started the thumb the same way, worked to the join, joined it to the hand, then continued working in the round (using magic loop on a 32" circular needle).

This is also the first time I've tried corrugated ribbing - and loved it! I don't know if I did it right, though - I was having too much fun faking it to bother looking it up. I worked the ribbing one round in the main colour (dark olive green) as [k1, slip 1 p-wise], then the next round in the contrast colour (a heathered ochre) as [slip 1 p-wise with yarn in back, bring yarn forward, purl 1, bring yarn back]. I cast off with a purl round, as I have a weakness for the way that looks (it's like punctuation after the ribbing).

Anyway, I immediately started the 2nd mitten, and am doing it exactly the same (I was thinking of reversing the colours, but changed my mind).

It doesn't take much to totally improve my outlook on the knits. Much better now, thanks. :-)

Oh, I've also been learning to spin on a spindle - so far I've made "novelty yarn". I hope to graduate to half-way decent someday. There's a definate learning curve, and I've only just started the climb...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Design, she is a Fickle Mistress

Beatrice is finished. All ends are woven in. Blocking is history. But I don't like her. She's, um, kind of ugly. Ungainly. I'm just not happy with the finished product.

Why? Well, the shawl doesn't hang like I had expected. I did the Faroese-esque shoulder shaping popularized by Myrna Stahman, but can't get the finished product to hang like Myrna's shawls do. The sizing is right, and the execution was bang on, but she still doesn't hang properly. The problem is with the shoulder area - back to the blocking drawing board, I guess.

I think I'll put her in time out for a few days, then re-block. Hopefully that will solve some of the problem. Unfortunately, I know it won't solve all of it. There is too big a gap between the finished product I had in my mind and the actual completed shawl.

I don't think I'll be offering this one as a pattern for sale. It doesn't seem right to be asking money for a pattern that results in a shawl that even the designer feels failed her.

But that leads me to wondering - what do other designers do when the end product doesn't meet with their expectations? Some designers seem to sell the pattern anyway (there are some really disappointing designs out there). They pump out designs so regularly it's amazing. I have to wonder if that is motivated by financial need, or by a demanding public following? Other designers produce fewer patterns, but those that they do publish are consistently interesting and of high quality. I guess I want to be (eventually) associated with the second group, not the first.

While it might seem wonderful that a designer publishes a pattern a month, sometimes that is just too intense a pace. I now feel I've spent the entire month of November wasting my time on a failure, and that it's time to take a break - from designing, from trying to force my passion to be a source of income, and most of all, from guilt. I've got a huge list of things that I promised various family members would get done - but all that list of items is doing is weighing me down with guilt.

Well, guilt is what killed my passion for quilting. I don't want guilt to kill my passion for knitting, too. I need to step back and cut cleanly the guilty hold that certain things have over me. To that end, I will be packing up and sending out the components of the projects that glare at me from the corners of my studio. My MIL will be getting the bits of her imaginary vest back. She won't be getting hand-knit socks, either. Dad & Marion won't be getting the place mats I promised them two years ago. Mom won't be getting her requested bag (but I did re-block the red cashmere scarf I made her - she can pick it up next time she visits).

I think I'll be throwing out the projects that are stalled at the WIP stage. If I'm not sure how to finish it, or I'm no longer feeling it, out it goes. It's time to use the garbage can, if only to lighten the psychic load. I'm so tired, so weighed down by all of the crap I carry around in my guilty conscience - I need it to be over. DONE. WITH. Enough already.

There may be another break in the blogging, too...

Monday, November 26, 2007

It never happens like I plan

Just when I'd decided to put Beatrice away for a while and focus on sock design, I had a breakthrough. All of the design problems I'd been unable to figure out just vanished - I woke up one morning (really, really early - like 2:30am early) with the solution fully formed in my mind. I guess it was just Beatrice's time.

So, here she is, modelled by a napping Emo. The bottom border is charted, the final instructions are written, and now all I need to do is (re)execute them. I actually finished the shawl this morning, but found a mistake that was going to glare at me loudly and forever, so unpicked the cast-off and pulled back 14 really long rows. Ugh. However, I'll be happy with the end result, and that's all that matters, right?

Another shot, taken after I finished the second skein of yarn. The full shawl took four skeins. I blocked after two skeins to make sure I was happy with the design - and I was, thus the whole keeping-going-ness.

This is the view of my legs, in their standard state while knitting. Fae is keeping watch so that Emo can nap without interruption.

And, finally, because it was so darn cute... Fae sacked out on Emo, on the couch in my studio. Aww. And yes, I need to vacuum.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Sock-ish Question

Hmm, long time no post. Sorry!

Beatrice (my second shawl design) is coming along - I'm nearing the bottom border, but have put her in time-out as there are a few details that aren't really pleasing me right now. Yep, she may end up frogged.

However, I've also been playing some sock-y games. I'm loving Cat Bordhi's new sock book, especially the way it gives you architectures for shaping, but lets you go off on whatever design tangent you want. I'm tempted to put my designing mind just to socks right now - but I don't want to have to write out full sock patterns. Is it wrong to just want to focus on the stitch pattern / body patterning of the socks, and ignore heel and toe shaping? Probably not saleable, but maybe some free patterns...

In my brain right now are two (maybe three) men's dress socks, and four womens' socks. I just want to knit single socks! Maybe I want to design like Cookie A. when I grow up...

Hmm. Things to think about.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Away We Go

I'm off this weekend - I'm going on a quilt retreat with Mom. We're off to the Palisades Centre near Jasper, Alberta (in the mountains, in Jasper National Park), where we will be working on different quilts.

Mom is making Dancing Leaves by Animas Quilts, and I'm making a variation of Drunkard's Wave by Judy Niemeyer. Why a variation? Because I just can't follow a pattern exactly as written. My need to "tweak" and to do an individual interpretation is strong - so strong, in fact, that even though I purchased the kit (pricey, too) I'll be ignoring some of the kitted fabrics and substituting from my stash, not making up the blocks as the pattern sets out, adding extra borders, and generally changing things until my quilt looks nothing like the original. At all! But, that's me.

I had to phone ahead and check that I can access my Etsy account and email program from the Palisades Centre so I can keep up with Internet orders of the Agatha pattern while I'm away - shouldn't be a problem. Shawl pins ordered on Friday won't go out until Monday, though (we leave Friday morning).

And then on Monday - I have a surprise for Tom! He has been in Cambodia for 10 days (I'm picking him up at the airport at 1:45am tonight/tomorrow morning), and when he gets back I'm promptly taking off for the quilting retreat and leaving him alone with the critters. So, I wanted to do something special with him to make up for not being here long when he gets back, and I found just the thing!

Henry Rollins is coming to Edmonton. Tom remembers Henry from his days with Black Flag, a punk band (Tom has always liked punk music - yup, he's a bit funky), and we both enjoyed him very much as the co-host of Full Metal Challenge on the Discovery Chanel. Right now he's on tour doing a spoken word thing - apparently it is a rant type of performance - Henry has very strong political leanings, is a comedian, and reminds me a bit of Lewis Black (often featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart). Tom doesn't know Henry Rollins is coming here (I just found out today, and was able to get tickets in the nosebleed section, at the last minute), so this is a surprise. I wonder if I can keep the surprise? Probably not. Huh.

Anyway, I hope to resume regular blogging next week - I have a new shawl designed that I want to get started on. In the mean time, I hope to finish Agatha's socks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Agatha is finished, blocked, written up, PDF-d, and the pattern is for sale in my Etsy shop! Woot!

I finished knitting Agatha over a week ago, but blocked her during a humid spell, and she took four days to dry (it probably didn't help that I'm now blocking in the basement, and the weather is considerably cooler now). Then (Murphy rears his ugly head) my digital camera had some temporary hiccups, so a photo shoot was out of the question. However, all is well again now, so I was (finally) able to insert photos into the pattern and turn it into a PDF file.

Agatha's Stats:
  • 3 skeins of ShiBui Knits Merino Kid (not brushed, DK weight) in the colour Mulberry, 218 yards each (used ALL of it!)
  • 24" deep from top edge to bottom point
  • 50" wide from edge to edge, as shown in photo below
  • Two weeks of often interrupted knitting time
  • And yes, I designed and charted her, and wrote up the pattern
  • Lace stitch pattern in body of shawl based on pattern 76 in Estonian lace book Pitsilised Koekirjad, by Leili Reimann

This was a fun knit, and the stitch pattern was easy to memorize and read. I'm pretty proud of the transition into the border - I had some false starts on it, but am happy with the final solution.

Yes, I'm blowing my own horn a bit, but it's exciting to be publishing my first pattern! Darn it! Squee! I can only hope that if anyone actually buys the pattern they find it logical and easy to follow. No test knitters were harmed during the making of this pattern (tee hee - okay fine, I don't have any test knitters - the only knitters I know personally are way to busy for me to even ask). Anyway, I hope to get over myself sometime later today, but will enjoy the giddiness for a few hours more, if that's okay. ;-)

Oh, and there may be (cough) coordinating socks (cough) in the future. I've finished one, and am working on the second. The socks aren't the same colour or yarn, but they do use the same lace pattern.

I'm knitting them out of Crystal Palace Maizy in Hibiscus, and LOVE IT! This stuff (82% corn fiber) is incredibly soft - even softer than Merino! With only one sock done, it has already become my favorite sock yarn - and that's saying a lot considering some of the gorgeous luxury yarns I've worked with.

While there are some lovely solids, I'm not that thrilled with the print colours that are available. However, I can't find anything in my stash that comes even close to being as soft. And, the 18% elastic nylon keeps them springy and bouncy, and helps the lace keep its shape. Yummy. I'll keep you posted as to how they wash. Oh, and they've already been claimed - they fit my Mom perfectly.

Sock Monkey

I've been listening to Jonathan Coulton's "Code Monkey" for days now. It is SO in my head! Press the blue listen icon next to "Play the song" at the top of the page and you can get it in your head, too.

Anyway, I got to thinking (not always a good thing) that maybe there was a knitting song (or two, or three) in there somewhere...

Sock Monkey
(the Version)
Lyrics by ThatLoganChick

Sung to the tune "Code Monkey" by Jonathan Coulton

Sock Monkey get up get coffee
Sock Monkey sit in chair
Sock Monkey surrounded by knitting
Yep, projects everywhere
First pick up and work on new Pomotamus
Such a funky sock
Cookie A designs better than rest of us
Hedera she rock
Sock Monkey think maybe Cookie have SSS, never finish second sock
But she write up pattern real nice
Red Herring stranded knit with spice

Sock Monkey like knitting
Sock Monkey like Rosewood Double Points
Sock Monkey like circulars
Addi Turbos and bamboo too
(but only with good joins)

Sock Monkey made Tangled Garden
But can’t get them on
Sock Monkey have real high instep
Wide feet very long
Knit lace 'cause lace is very stretchy and
Can fit over foot
And also thinks lace looks very pretty on
Even ginormous foot
Sock Monkey make Beaudelaire, Broadripple, Fuzzy Feet, and Falling Leaves
Sock Monkey think Knitty real cool
Sock Monkey thank Amy, no fool

Sock Monkey like knitting
Sock Monkey like Rosewood Double Points
Sock Monkey like circulars
Addi Turbos and bamboo too
(but only with good joins)
But only with good joins – uh huh

Sock Monkey knit Crusoe anklets
And they fit really well
Sock Monkey make Thuja for man
He think they very swell
But man he likes his socks in solids ‘cause
He thinks stripes too wild

So Sock Monkey stops knitting new socks for him
She likes socks with style
Sock Monkey think someday she knit every sock, scour Internet each day
Sock Monkey have Wait List so long
Sock Monkey can’t die ‘til it’s gone

Sock Monkey like knitting
Sock Monkey like Rosewood Double Points
Sock Monkey like circulars
Addi Turbos and bamboo too
(but only with good joins)

Of course, JoCo's Code Monkey is available in a Karaoke version so that you can sing Sock Monkey, too. For free (whole song! trial version), or for a buck if you want to download and keep it. Go on, sing it out. I dare you. Hee.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Code Monkey Dance

Me Like Code Monkey

I was listening to back issues of the Knitters Uncensored podcast yesterday, and they closed one of their podcasts with a Jonathan Coulton song (Ikea). It rocked.

So, I looked up JC's website, and ended up buying his whole music collection. The man is talented! You have to enjoy a musician who writes with wit and intelligence, and is also a great performer. I love that he writes with equal passion about science, computers, and drinking. Warning, though - don't listen to "First of May" at work! (Heavy use of the f-word).

I also watched a number of the YouTube videos of his songs, and my favorite is Emily's Code Monkey Dance, which I've put up above for your enjoyment too. Love it!

Back to knitting content: Agatha is finished and blocking (she's been drying for two days already, but the basement studio is quite cool, so I anticipate another day - heavy yarn, and I didn't press out enough water before blocking - lesson learned). I completed writing and editing the pattern, so just need a photo session and I can post it in my Etsy shop. Woo hoo!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Open for (some) Business

After months of wanting to do it, I finally opened an Etsy store!

Right now I'll only be posting a few things, as I'm having difficulty getting useful information out of Canada Post. (Aargh!) Their website insists that I need a postal code to determine a price for sending items in Canada, even when all I want is an estimate for shipping a parcel of know size and weight. Sigh.

Then, I also need to figure out shipping to the US. And to Australia and New Zealand (just in case). How about worldwide? Oy.

Anyway, I'll be selling my (freakin' awesome) shawl pins, some sets of stitch markers, and some knitting patterns (in PDF form).

I'm about 75% of the way through the knitting of my Agatha shawl (yup, changed the name from Pavilion Shawl to Agatha - I'm going to name the patterns alphabetically so I can easily remember them / know when they were designed). However, I already have a pattern format designed, and have written Agatha up.

I think I'll be doing a free sock pattern, too, using the same lace as the shawl. It may be a "free gift with purchase" kind of thing - but it's based on the Riverbed sock architecture from Cat Bordhi's newest book "New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One", so won't have complete stitch-by-stitch instructions. Rather, it will be a companion pattern, meant for use with the book. If I later decide to sell the sock pattern, I'll have to write it up too, but will need to get Ms. Bordhi's permission to refer to and use her architecture and techniques.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get the Canada Post thing sorted out soon, and put more of the pins and some stitch markers into my shop. I've got some favorites that I may have to keep, but right now have over 30!!! pins ready to go. And they're all lovely, if I might say so...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Pavilion Shawl

Well, that might be it's name... it has had a number of different names already, and I'm only 55/300 grams in.

I've been designing virtual shawls for quite a while now. By "virtual shawl", I mean one that gets charted in Excel, printed out, notes made, etc, but no actual knitting gets done. On a few I've got so far as casting on and knitting a few inches, but then ripping out as something doesn't please me.

My friend Janet took at look at them last Friday, and then proceeded to give me a stern talking to. She thinks that some of those designs are good - even good enough to share. So, I started knitting my most recent design yesterday. I tried three different yarns and four needle sizes, but finally came up with a combination I was happy with. I'm now just under 20% in, based on using all 300 grams of yarn.

I'm using ShiBui Knits Merino Kid, which is a DK weight merino and kid mohair blend. It's not brushed, so the mohair gives it sheen instead of fuzziness, although it has a small amount of halo. The colour is Mulberry, and is rich, rich, rich.

I found the stitch pattern in my book of Estonian lace patterns (Pitsilised Koekirjad). The density of the pattern and the curving of the columns of stitches screamed out to me that they should be knitted in a shiny, thick yarn. When I swatched, I wasn't pleased until I went with a very dense texture - the density really showed off the pattern the best.

So, after much mucking about, I've begun. The shawl has some minor start-up rows, a set-up chart, two charts that are alternately repeated for the body of the shawl, and then a final chart for the bottom border. In just one night of knitting I've gotten into the third repeat of the first of the two repeating charts. Yippee!

Also, I've got most of the pattern written out and formatted already. I just have to make a few changes, then leave it for a while to hibernate so that I can edit with a fresh brain later.

I'll keep you posted.

Oh, and I made a sweater for Nephew Nolan, with two removable / exchangeable fronts - will post on that once it's blocked.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Story in Pictures

When I went to put Fae in her kennel tonight before taking myself off to bed too, we found it already occupied. Emo had invaded. Fae was not exactly thrilled, but went in anyway.

It took some convincing, but I was able to get her to lay down. She complained a bit...

but once Emo settled down again, she seemed resigned to sharing the kennel.

So, she laid down her head and settled in. It looked like the two of them would be sharing a bed for the night.

But, as is the way with many things in this world, such was not to be. Whether it was the unexpected body warmth, the fur, or the dog breath, Emo decided that his choice of beds for the night was no longer satisfactory, and that his only option was to get up and leave.

Oh well. Fae likes her kennel better when it's feline-free anyway.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shawl Catch-Up (picture heavy)

When I was putting links in my "Finished Objects (Knitted)" section, I realized I'd never posted photographs of certain shawls and socks. Most of these were knitted during a period of non-blogging, but some I simply never photographed, and they were gifted away (oops!). So, in the interest of correcting this oversight, I'm posting here about the ones that were finished but never blogged that have stayed in my possession. I will do another post shortly with some gifted shawls.

The Diamond Fantasy Shawl, by Sivia Harding:
I worked this in Fleece Artist hand-dyed 2/8 Blue Faced Leicester. The yarn was a Christmas gift from my Mom (who knows my colour sense very, very well), and this shawl used a little more than half the skein (I'm estimating around 650 meters). I will likely use the rest for mittens and a hat, as I adore the colourway, and think a matching shawl/hat/mittens set would be really cute.
Diamond Fantasy was an enjoyable knit - but I had to pay attention the entire time, as it was easy to get one row off on the pattern (yup, there was some frogging). I changed the top of the shawl from the pattern - I did a four-stitch faggoted band rather than the suggested finish. That made it really easy to block, too.

Hyrna Herborgar, from Three-cornered and Long Shawls (scroll down), Schoolhouse Press:
I'm not quite sure when I made this, but I remember loving the yarn, and hating the [k1, p1] into the back side of the double yarn overs. Ugh. The shawl is so lovely, though, that even remembering how much I disliked working the top portion, I think this will be a front runner on my "Patterns I'd do Again" list. Sigh.
This was worked in a heavy fingering weight 100% cashmere on-the-cone from Colourmart. It bloomed beautifully after washing, and gave the full, dense stitch pattern I was hoping for. This is a smaller shawl, and is perfect for when I just want a little extra warmth around the shoulders. Also, the softness can't be beat!

And, because I promised you, a photo of the latest shawl (Engeln Shawl A, the 2nd) dancing in the fading evening sunlight:

And, my photographer's assistant, Fae:

All together now: "Awww"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Engeln Shawl A (the 2nd) is Blocking

It took twelve days to knit this time (I slacked off a bit). This version is much larger (as I had hoped) - the yardstick in the photo is about six inches from the bottom edge (the length down the back is about 42").

This shawl was made with Lisa Souza's "Kid", which is 90% Kid Mohair with 10% Nylon, in the colourway Mahogany. The original skein was 1000 yards in eight ounces, and I have two ounces left over (roughly 250 yards). That is plenty to make a lovely scarf, or a wimple.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring sunshine so that I can do a decent photo shoot - the depth of colour in the mohair is incredible - golds, olives, russets and ebony, all wrapped in the rich background of mahogany brown. Delicious!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Yep ...

I'm making one for me now. I went with the Lisa Souza Mahogany.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More about Engeln Shawl A

I wasn't really happy with the photos of the shawl, so took more before Grandma left. This set shows the colour of the yarn a lot truer, as well as catching the mohair haze. The first photo is a close-up to show the matching jewelery (a necklace with rhodonite flat faceted oval stones and tourmaline chips, and rhodonite and gold shawl pin). I also made rhodonite and gold earrings, and a shawl pin with rhodonite and picture jasper, but these were done late, so didn't make it into the photo shoot.

I love the finished shawl so much (and have gotten so many great responses about it) that I've decided to do another (this time for ME!). Right now I leaning toward either a Lisa Souza mohair in mahogany, or one of the heavier weight mohairs from Blue Moon Fiber Arts or Fleece Artist. I'll have to go through my stash and choose. My shawl will need to be a bit bigger, as I'm four inches or so taller than Grandma, and I really liked the way her shawl sat just below her, umm, bottom. So, off to did in the basement in the temporary plastic totes that my stash is in.

Speaking of the basement, it is coming along nicely. The second coat of mud went on the drywall this morning, and the third coat will go on tomorrow, with (hopefully) painting this weekend. We're now discussing putting cork flooring down there, which I would love!

Enough for today, I should go clean up the kitchen and wash the guest room bedding. Ta.

Monday, September 03, 2007


I joined, I saw, Midian interpreted, I shawled.

I joined The Lacey Shawl Yahoo Group because I was interested in knitting the shawl designed by Triinu Andreassen that had been posted on the Lace Shawl KAL blog. After the group's purpose (convincing her to publish the design) was completed, members opened the group up to discussion of various shawl patterns available.

A Swiss member named Midian posted a photograph of Spitzenstricken 58, an Erich Engeln pattern pamphlet, showing two shawls. The shawls were meant to be knitted on 2mm needles and worn like scarves/collars over traditional German costumes. I asked Midian for help with interpreting the pattern, and she got right back to me! She had a friend translate it from German to French for her, then she translated from French to English for me. So, I started right away...

In only eight days, 60 grams of Colinette Parisienne laceweight mohair (colourway Castagna) was turned into Spitzenstricken 58, model A, by Erich Engeln. I knitted the shawl on 5mm needles, and it took a little less than 550 meters!

Blocking it took a heck of a lot of pins, but it did block beautifully. The washing settled the halo a bit, which was good, as it had gotten really hairy with all of the handling during knitting.

We have Tom's Grandparents here right now for a visit, and I asked Grandma to model the shawl so I could take a few photos. She looked so natural in it that I had to give it to her! Plus, she wears a lot of pale pink, and the shawl is brown and pink, with small amounts of olive/gold and black (sounds hideous, but looks gorgeous).

Next we will be making a coordinating shawl pin, and maybe a pair of earrings to match. What fun! And the best part is that while we're doing that, Tom and his parents (also visiting) are in the basement completing the repairs to get my studio up and running after the spring water leak. Boy oh boy am I looking forward to getting my yarn and fabric stashes out of storage, and back on shelves.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Socks, Sewing, & not much more

Hello again. There isn't a lot going on here these days - I'm still working on the Mystery Stole, have a pair of TomSocks on the needles, and am making way too many shawl pins.

Things that I've made over the past few weeks include a matching purse and wallet (no photos yet), four shawl pins (again with the no photos), and a pair of LoganSocks.

The socks are DK weight Colinette Cadenza, in the colour Castagna, worked on 2.75mm needles. This is my own pattern, toe up, with padding under the ball of the foot, under the heel, and at the back of the heel as well. I tried a different finish, and love it - purl a round, knit a round, three rounds of moss stitch, a knit round, a purl round, and cast off in the lace manner.

I will try to get a shot of the shawl pins over the next day or so, and post them soon.

I'm boring myself, so am going off to feed the critters. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Happy 8th to Us!

We had our 8th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, but celebrated Monday as well (grin).

On Monday we spent a pleasant day together at home, as (hold your breath) Tom had taken a few days off work! I made brunch for us, then we putzed around the house, periodically reading aloud recipes from the Nigella Lawson cookbook he bought me (I love her - so much less serious than most TV cooks).

By dinner time we were both of a mind to try some of her Asian influenced dishes, so Tom went off on a grocery expedition while I tidied up a bit around the house.

He came home with some of what he wanted, and woggled together something similar to one of her recipes. It was a fine meal, and made finer by the company (awwww). After that, an episode of Firefly on DVD, some MS3 knitting, then bed.

On Tuesday we slept in again (this time with the dog and two cats on the bed, the buggers), then went OUT! If you know me, you know that I'm not one for going out - I prefer the consistency, predictability, and comforts of home. But, in the interest of satisfying Tom's request for a fun day out, we hit Churchill Square for the Taste of Edmonton festival and stuffed ourselves silly.

It was cooler than it has been in weeks, but still more than warm for me (yup, I was the only adult in the huge reflecting/wading pool). Floppy hat and all.

We had parked just through the gate to Edmonton's Chinatown area, and I snapped some pics of decorative details of the gate. I'm thinking applique potential, or at least influence for a quilting pattern. Hmmm.

After all the sun and stuffing, we stopped at River City Yarns (Best. Husband. In. World.) for some acquisition and discussion. Cynthia was terrific, and the store, while small, was full of fun things generally only found on-line. As such a connoisseur of on-line shopping and blog following myself, I was recognizing and oohing and ahhing immediately - and she knew a serious knitter when she heard some of my comments. She immediately cleared off a comfortable chair for Tom, but he had other ideas!

By the time I was done, he had chosen a skein of sock wool Trekking XXL in the charcoal and grey fleck (colour 62) and a skein of Hand Maiden 4 Ply 100% Cashmere (in the mineral colourway) for the pattern on the label - the Devin's Toque. It is a Thomas design, so I think it is appropriate. But jeez, a cashmere toque for a guy who up until now has resisted all my attempts to clothe him in knitted things, except for socks and fingerless gloves?

My choices were a Lantern Moon circular needle holder in a lovely gingery orange silk and a crimson Lantern Moon sock project bag. Oh, and a teeny little three sided silk covered squeezy thing, perfect for holding stitch markers (modeled by Emo, who is hiding his face as he appears to be having a bad face life, not just bad face days).

I also bought the Virginia Van Santen Globe Bowl pattern - they had one made up in the store, and it just looked so neat!

Next we went to one of those enormous Cineplex Odeon theatres and saw an afternoon showing of Hairspray 2007 - which was fun, fun, fun. I so want the sound track!

Of course, the best part about the anniversary was the time with my beloved, and the fact that even after eight years and many pounds, we're still having fun together. Tom, I love you. Happy anniversary, and here's hoping for many, many more.
Us and our parents, July 24th, 1999. It feels like yesterday.